This being a music blog, I think I’ll go a bit meta-malarkey today and share my music-organizing and locating hacks with you.
First off, the software.
iTunes 7 (download here) has just been released and although the interface isn’t my style, I love the emphasis on visuals – we all need our artwork fix and if you have an iTunes account you can download the covers for all your music and then sit back and just scroll through them. Of course, there’s the DRM issue where iTunes is concerned, and instead of scouring Amazon for artwork you could just head off to Find My Cover. Just type in the band or album name, press enter, scroll down, and lo and behold, the desired eyecandy. Works for films too. Other perks on the iTunes scene? You can back up your whole music collection, incrementally.
For more useful detail on iTunes 7 check out Lifehacker‘s post: here and here.
I’m not big on the iPod Shuffle, but this new take on it is pretty darn cool:
Tagging music can be a pain; iTunes has GraceNote incorporated to do that for you once you insert a CD. As for the non-inserting of CDs there’s iEatBrainz, not a carnivorous specimen of exotic plant, but a useful app for Mac OS X, that tags your music for you by using “acoustic matching”. For Windows or Linux, there’s always Music Brainz Picard.
The Organizing Incoming Music Part
I have lots of music that I want to check out extensively, new, old, classical, hip hop as of late, the un-classifiables off myspace – sounds lovely to discover so much music but it all goes pear-shaped when you try organizing it- whether by analog means or digital. Writing on my hand, on bits of paper prone to flying all over the place, a stack of growing stagnancy. Then I made lists via ta-da lists, and added the RSS feed for them so I never forget to check. Meh. I never forget, that doesn’t mean I’m so diligent as to set myself standards – I don’t have that one post a day at least mantra anymore.
So, this is good, you can classify and sub-classify to death. You can also use the share function for the little tykes. What do you do when you don’t have the computer around? Personally I like to carry this type of valuable information with me. I file music by time-line: Classic, Contemporary, New (which might include both classic and contemporary) urgency of spreading the word: To Blog, LSI (Let Sink In), and sometimes sources: ES (External Sources), for instance . These work for me, even though it’s not entirely cohesive. Mindmapping might be a better option but I’m a list-friendly type of gal. People might ask, so what are you listening to right now. My mind goes in a million directions and sometimes they get nothing concrete out of me. If you use a Hipster PDA (a fetching Parietal Disgorgement Aid, woo!) then you can make a template for this kind of necessity, and some spare templates to scribble on and share with people. I am a hysterical sharer.
Speaking of blogging, I don’t use file hosts all the time you know. Sometimes you get promo mp3s sent to you. Other times, you can search for legal mp3s yourself. In the beginning I had no idea where to start, googling isn’t of much help here. Unless you have this script. It’s good to have resources on hand though. Those resources are here, at Listible. Not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start.
Music news is an issue too. Going to various sites is a time-waster so I always look for an RSS button to subscribe to the content of a good site; and then I mash it all up on xFruits. For example, there’s this.
As for discovering music via communities, last.fm is good as a start, but the larger a community grows the more you get all sorts of unwanted material coming your way from people bored out of their wits ona meme-binge. Quite a long way from the beginnings of Audioscrobbler. The journals are rarely ever that. For now MOG seems to be covering that ground pretty well. People are writing about everything from rock history to the world’s most expensive bat mitzvah. Oh did I mention Frank Black from the Pixies is a Mogger? Invaluable. And with a variety of widgets to accessorize your page and help you organize your music mental space, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try it out if you think your two cents’ worth is worth something. (And of course it is, in fact I wonder how people organize their digital music life these days).